Ms. Zhao Guirong Sentenced to Seven-Year Prison Term for Practicing Falun Gong
Name: Zhao Guirong (赵桂荣)
Address: Daban Town, Balinyouqi, Chifeng City
Date of Most Recent Arrest: April 6, 2010
Most Recent Place of Detention: Hohhot No. 1 Women’s Prison (内蒙古呼和浩特第一女子监狱)
Province: Inner Mongolia
Persecution Suffered: Illegal sentencing, beatings, imprisonment, extortion, home ransacked, interrogation, detention
Key Persecutors: Zhang Haitao, Chen Hongjiu, and Wang Chenglin
(Clearwisdom.net) Ms. Zhao Guirong is a Falun Gong practitioner from Daban Town, Balinyouqi, Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia. Since China began its suppression of Falun Gong on July 20, 1999, Ms. Zhao’s home has been repeatedly ransacked, and she has been repeatedly arrested and incarcerated in both forced labor camps and prisons. For handing out free materials containing important facts about Falun Gong and about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), she was sentenced to a seven-year prison term by Balinyouqi People’s Court in Inner Mongolia in June 2010. She is now incarcerated in Hohhot No. 1 Women’s Prison in Inner Mongolia. Chen Hongjiu, head of the Balinyouqih 610 Office, and Zhang Haitao, chief of the local Domestic Security Team, are the main culprits behind the persecution of Ms. Zhao.
On the evening of April 6, 2010, Ms. Zhao and a fellow practitioner, Ms. Wang Jianxia, from Linxi County, Chifeng City, were handing out Falun Gong materials when officer Zhang Haitao from the Domestic Security Team and his fellow officers from Balinyouqi arrested them. At 8:00 a.m. the next day, the police ransacked Ms. Zhao’s home and took photographs. They confiscated photographs of Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong; Falun Gong lecture tapes; three copies of Zhuan Falun, Falun Gong’s main study text; Hong Yin and Hong Yin II, two collections of poems written by Mr. Li Hongzhi; many other Falun Gong books; a mobile phone; and an MP3 player.
On June 8, 2010, Balinyouqi People’s Court brought Ms. Zhao Guirong and Ms. Wang Jianxia to trial in a travesty of justice.
Chen Hongjiu, head of the local 610 Office, told their families to return home because the trial had been canceled. He also promised to notify them of the new trial date. But the trial started after 9:00 a.m. Shortly before the trial began, officer Zhang Haitao took photographs of those attending the trial. Another police officer, Li Hongzhu from the Domestic Security Bureau in Balizuoqi, attended the trial with several other officers.
Despite the false cancellation announcement, Ms. Zhao and Ms. Wang’s family members remained at the courthouse to wait for the trial to begin. However, the court staff would only allow their parents and sisters to enter the courtroom. They had to show their IDs and submit to a body search before they could enter the courtroom. Ms. Zhao's attorney also had to be searched. In addition, he was not allowed to bring his water jug or briefcase into the court room. Another attorney, Mr. Li Jinglin, used to be Ms. Wang's attorney before the Prosecutor’s Office in Balinyouqi refused to allow him to represent Ms. Wang. [Note: On January 18, 2010, Mr. Li Jinglin represented another Falun Gong practitioner, Ms. Li Yufen. He now faces a charge brought by the prosecutor’s office in Balinquo.]
After the trial started, the prosecutor did not present any witnesses. When the attorney demanded the evidence against his client, the prosecutor asked for a 20-minutes recess so that they could collect the evidence. The prosecutor presented several DVDs containing performances by Shen Yun Performing Arts. During the recess, a group of men appearing to be plainclothes police officers took the attorney into another room and confiscated a printout with his defense statement.
On June 18, 2010, Ms. Zhao Guirong was sentenced to a seven-year term, and Ms. Wang Jianxia was sentenced to a four-year prison term. On September 10, 2011, the 610 Office sent them to the No. 1 Women’s Prison in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, without notifying their families.
One day Ms. Zhao’s younger sister tried to visit her at the detention center, but a guard told her that Mr. Zhao had been transferred. He added that she had no right to inquire about Ms. Zhao’s whereabouts and he was under no obligation to inform her. The guard even raised an arm threatening to hit her up if she didn't stop asking about Ms. Zhao.
A Brief Account of the Persecution of Ms. Zhao Guirong:
On February 16, 2002, police officers including Chen Hongjiu, Wang Chenglin, Ba Gen, and Da Lai pretended to be census workers and entered Ms. Zhao Guirong’s home in Daban Town, Balinyouqi, Chifeng City. They ransacked her home and confiscated her entire collection of Falun Gong books, two sets of Falun Gong lecture tapes, three sets of Falun Gong exercise music tapes, three Falun Gong pins, two photographs of Mr. Li Hongzhi (the founder of Falun Gong), two posters of the Falun Gong emblem, and a calling card. The officers arrested Mr. Zhao, her parents who also practice Falun Gong, her husband, and her son and took them to the Balinyouqi Police Department. The police also arrested three other practitioners that day, including Mr. Jia Bin, Mr. Ding Guang, and Mr. Sun Wei.
The next day Ms. Zhao’s mother was transferred to Balinyouqi Detention Center. The police offered to release her on bail of 3,000 yuan. Her family’s connection negotiated with the police. Ba Gen, chief of the Balinyouqi Domestic Security Team, agreed to reduce the bail to 1,000 yuan without giving a receipt, but did not release her until she had been detained for 21 days. The detention center also kept the 50 yuan in cash that Ms. Zhao had with her.
Over the next two years, Ms. Zhao and her family faced repeated harassment from the local police.
On April 30, 2006, Ms. Zhao was working in the paddies on the mountain when Zhang Haitao and other officers ransacked her home. They confiscated three copies of Zhuan Falun, Falun Gong lecture tapes and exercise music tapes, photographs of Mr. Li Hongzhi, posters of the Falun Gong emblem, and rubber stamps that read “Falun Gong is good,” “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good,” and “The World Needs Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance;” 50-some-odd copies of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, and over 1,000 yuan in cash. The police arrested Ms. Zhao and her parents again and took them to the police department.
The director of Balinyouqi Police Station ordered police officers to pull Mrs. Zhao’s hair. They started at the nape of her neck and moved to her forehead. Her parents were detained at the bureau overnight before they were released. Several days later, Zhang Haitao summoned Mr. Zhao to the bureau and slapped him in the face over 20 times during the interrogation. Ms. Zhao remained in police custody.
One day a police officer found a scrap of paper in a book belonging to Mr. Zhao’s teenage niece. On the paper were words transcribed from Zhuan Falun. The next day the police summoned the child to the police department and asked her if she had written those words. She acknowledged that she had. When she told the police she was practicing calligraphy, the police asked why she chose those words. She replied, “To improve one’s calligraphy, one should not be selective of which words to practice.” The police could not find any fault and had to release her.
One day Ms. Zhao decided to tell Zhang Haitao, “My entire family depends on the money you took from us. If you don't return the money, my son will have nothing to live on. If we can't pay our bills, I will hold you personally responsible.” Zhang Haitao cowered and returned the money in person, but he insisted that her son sign a receipt and even put a fingerprint on it.
In May, 2006, Ms. Zhao’s father tried to visit his daughter in police custody, and brought boiled eggs and a Chinese tamale with him. Upon arrival, he was told that Ms. Zhao had already been transferred to the Women’s Forced Labor Camp in Hohhot. No legal procedures had been followed.
Police officers Zhang Haitao, Chen Hongjiu, and Wang Chenglin were the main culprits behind the arrest and incarceration of Ms. Zhao Guirong.